Monday, 20 February 2017


sex-ed: acknowledging that most young people are schooled by pornography, a major service-provider is getting in the business of outreach, via Bad Ethnography

coffin nails: ironic, hypocryphal Death cigarettes were really popular with Goths

nüshu: throwing off the yoke of a patriarchal society that excluded women seeking education, Chinese women developed their own secret script to promote literacy, via Nag on the Lake

pinhologican: a nonsense word generator for the nonce that yields some very cromulent terms, via Boing Boing

you and me baby, we ain’t nothing but mammal: a look at the making of Planet Earth II and the evolution of the documentary

thank you for being a friend: a Golden Girls themed café, with special emphasis on Blanche Deveraux, opens in Washington Heights, NYC

tusken raiders

Hasbro will be issuing a special fortieth anniversary edition of its iconic line of Star Wars actions figures—to include R5D4 and the other denizens of Tatooine. The poor Sand People are always made the scapegoats and get the blame for everything, like for the deaths of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru and the destruction of their moisture farm. Never forget, it was done by Imperial Stormtroopers who made it look like the aftermath of a Tusken raid.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

agent orange

Revoltingly—and unclear whether the US ambassador thought of this stupid cruelty himself or it was part of some State Department hazing ritual to prove oneʼs absolute loyalty to the new regime, the president of the eastern African nation and one of the seven majority Muslim countries under Dear Leaderʼs travel ban was presented with a baseball cap with a variation of the white-supremacist dog-whistle of slogan, “Make Somali Great Again.” Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed (who happens to be a US national) was not available for immediate comment but seemed to grudgingly accept the gift—which is far more patience and poise that could be expected out of anyone in such an awkward and inappropriate situation.

italia irredenta

Advisedly, a Roman high school cancelled plans less than a day after it announced its intentions to host a grand ball with a fascist-era theme.
Perhaps officials on the planning-committee thought there was little significant difference between dressing up in a flapper frock for a Great Gatsby-themed fete or that no 80s dance party was complete without doing a lot of coke and Japanese bashing. In any case, teachers conceded that this was insensitive to the memory of those times and was especially a poor choice right now considering nationalist movements are political big-ticket items in a lot of contested election campaigns—including Italyʼs own.

save our saucepans

In the late 1950s, the American and Soviet governments agreed to hold expositions in each otherʼs capitals in order to promote cultural understanding by showcasing the best in technique and artistry in all arenas—including home economics—and one such model American kitchen was the backdrop (or rather the proscenium) for an impromptu debate between the then visiting vice-president, Richard Milhous Nixon, and the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Sokolniki Park in the summer of 1959.
Box Vox introduces us to the exchange captured by television cameras and then simulcast in both nations and the produce-placement of the now iconic packages on the table and countertops, including the box of S.O.S soap pads. The two were touring the exhibits together—of a suburban home within the means of any American, when all of a sudden Khrushchev complained in strong terms how the US legislative characterised the Warsaw Pact as the Iron Curtain and Eastern Europe was not a prisoner. Taken aback, Nixon focused on the modern marvels in the kitchen and the labour-saving devices. Not impressed, Khrushchev asked where was the machine that would put the food in oneʼs mouth and force it down oneʼs throat. The two agreed that there was at least virtue in that the competition was couched in domestic terms, rather than military ones and that there scuffle ought to become a photo-op, given to the networks, in both the USA and USSR, to air a few days later.

see ʻn say

Working from Alexandria, Egypt, graphic design artist Mahmoud Tammam transforms Arabic script into the objects and concepts that the words represent. This is a clever way, I think, to diffuse a situation where some people might feel threatened by or scared of an unfamiliar alphabet.